Jan 4, 2006, 8:17 AM EDT
Gregg Williams—Joe Gibbs, like all coaches, hates distractions and the potential departure of Williams could have turned into a huge one. The Houston Texans had already requested an interview with him for their vacant coaching position and, certainly, more calls would be coming soon. The three-year, $8 million contract is really a one-year deal as it doesn’t prevent Williams from seeking a head job in 2007, but it is as good a deal ass one could expect under the circumstances. The $2.7 million he’ll make next season is as much as he would have been paid as the head coach for at least half of the teams in the market for a new head coach. But all indications are that it’s not all about money. Williams likes his situation here. He has excellent relationships with both Gibbs and with Dan Snyder and he is reluctant to move his family again. And, although it’s likely that he’ll take the plunge again in the future, he didn’t really like the non-football aspects of being a head coach. Another year off from that will do him good.
Shawn Springs—Although he’ll probably be officially listed as questionable, it seems extremely unlikely that Springs’ groin injury will have healed sufficiently for him to be able to play on Saturday. That’s not good for the Redskins, but it’s hardly disastrous. For one thing, Carlos Rogers is likely to return to the lineup after missing three games with a torn bicep muscle, so he and Walt Harris will be starting. Also, you just have to learn to live with and adjust to injuries this time of year. Nobody is going to take it easy on you because your starting cornerback is out. If Dimitri Patterson and Christian Morton have to be out on an island at crunch time next Saturday, so be it. They’ll just have to step up and make plays like Aki Jones and Demetric Evans have done on the line this year and like Lemar Marshall and Chris Clemons did at linebacker last year.
Lemar Marshall—The offseason loss of middle linebacker Antonio Pierce to free agency was supposed to be a devastating blow for the Washington defense. Not. Marshall was one of a few potential solutions that were to be tried in training camp, but he found himself at the top of the depth chart posted on the eve of training camp and he has given the coaches no reason to remove his name from there. It didn’t take long for the move to pay off. In the first game of the season, the Bears trailed by two late in the third quarter and they had driven to the Washington 22. On first down Kyle Orton’s pass was deflected by Warrick Holdman and Marshall gathered it in a yard deep in the end zone. The threat was over and the Redskins held on to win. Marshall’s huge interception on Sunday provided a nice bookend to his season. The fact that he led the team in interceptions with four is more of an indictment of the inability of the defensive backs to get their hands on very many passes and to hold on to the ones that they did get near, but it’s still a nice accomplishment for a middle linebacker.
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